Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Redux

I'm enjoying my second Christmas season at our new Church and a year later I find myself somewhat more at ease.

A year ago I was riding a roller coaster of emotion during this time and as I was participating in our Christmas program at Church. One moment feeling great, the next feeling a bit guilty and overwhelmed. This year things are different.

I purposefully decided to limit my participation this year to singing in the choir; there are a few cool solos and speaking parts, but (unlike me) I resisted the urge to wildly jump in. I have already committed myself to working with the teen choir and between that and "just" singing as part of the choir in the program that will be plenty. I do not want to over extend myself like I have in the past. At first, it was a bit difficult, but once I made the decision and stuck to it, I have never looked back.

Anyway, I digress... This year I'm not hyper-analyzing all the Christmas stuff going on around me and once I stopped doing that it's making more sense. There are lots of reasons that it does, but one stands out for me. If this is the ONE TIME that someone MIGHT be influenced by Christians during the course of the year then what is wrong with making that one time special so they see how great our God is. All my life I have resisted this mentality as being "wishy-washy" and conforming to the world, but God tells us through the words of Paul...

"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." I Corinthians 9:19-23

What powerful words! Paul reminds me that it's not only OK to reach out to others "while the reaching is good", but it's our responsibility!

On an even more personal note, the teen choir is singing "Love Came Down" Sunday. It's a Christmas song with a bit of a twist. If you listen to the words they remind us that God sent his son, that " came down at Christmas time...". I used to lose the message behind the quest for the facts (Jesus wasn't born on December 25th), if I'm honest with myself and remove the glasses, I can see that for what it is...legalism. There it is, plain and simple, I have never thought of myself as a legalist...

Now, when I hear those words, sung by some of our teens, I just get goosebumps.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

CFB 2006

My favorite spectator sport is and always has been College Football, it has only been in the last 10 years or so that I really cared about the NFL very much. Lately, I've been wasting brain cycles wondering which (in my mind) are the top 20 college football programs of all time.

The list below represents what I consider the 20 overall best college football programs of all time up to today. The criteria? You want criteria? Well, basically they have to be great football programs and considered as such throughout the country. They play tough teams every year and are consistently in the top 25.

Alabama - "Bear Bryant", great program even if they are experiencing some rough water now.
Army - Who doesn't love Army and Navy?
Auburn - Always dangerous and their fans are crazy...
Florida - Gotta have a couple Florida teams in here, this is one.
Florida State - For my money, the best Florida team.
Georgia - the bull dog, a lot of history, steeped in tradition.
Michigan - the "Big House", Bo, the helmet...should I go on?
Michigan State - Often neglected, of late, but 7 national championships...
Navy - Who doesn't love Army and Navy?
Nebraska - In a state with no professional sports, Nebraska football is it...
Notre Dame - One of the best college teams of all time, best fight song, traditions...
Ohio State - Woody Hayes, "the Shoe", and who doesn't love a team named after a nut?
Oklahoma - Great traditions, national championships, heismans...what else do you want?
Penn State - Jo Pa, Happy Valley, great tradtions, great program.
Tennesee - "Big House-wanna-be", Orange, "Rocky Top", rabid fans...
Texas - "Hook 'em Horns", great program and one that's good almost all the time...
USC - the one in California (South Carolina fans think they are USC), great program
Virginia Tech - No one seems to want to play these guys...
Washington - Not been great of late, but overall a powerhouse...
West Virginia - Up and down, but a team that seems to get a lot of press, they are good...

I'm not going to pick a number one because (for me) it's obvious, but it would be completely and totally biased...

Honorable mentions:
South Carolina (USC to those in SC) -once you get a look at this program, they love football in SC
Clemson - a good program, no one wants to play them at home.
Texas A&M

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I feel compelled to say something about the current craziness...

I am a die-hard, maize & blue-blooded, lifetime U of M fan. I think my mom piped in "Hail to the Victors" in her womb. (BTW, there is only ONE U of M and that is the University of Michigan, any other U of M you may see are mistaken)

My childhood is filled with fall Saturdays watching Michigan on TV. It was cool outside, me and the neighboorhood kids had played football until gametime and then the streets emptied. Mom had a pot of chili on the stove and we gathered around the TV and yelled and gasped and watched. Great fun.

There's not a lot about those days that I really, really miss, but that's one of them. Now, I live in basketball country and football is just not the same here. They try, but they just don't get it. In my hometown, on Friday night we walked to the High School game, then watched Michigan on Saturday and just kept going (let's not talk about the Lions).

Michigan is on the cusp of arguably the biggest game in the history of it's existence...and that is saying a lot. Every year there is always a game or two that are huge...this is gargantuan. The biggest rivalry in college sports, and arguably in American sports pro or college - Michigan / Ohio State and now they meet as two unbeaten teams #1 vs. #2 (only because it would be all but impossible to have a tie in the polls). The winner gets to go the the championship game, the loser gets to go to...The Rose Bowl?

Wow! For most of my life, the goal of any Big Ten team was to play in The Rose Bowl, that was the prize. Bo didn't care about anything else (of course it would have been nice if he had won a few more). Now the loser gets it. That's irony...

I have seen way too many of these games to bet on either team because anything can happen. When this game comes around you throw away stats, schedules, charts, polls, talking heads, sports casters, records...everything. A 1-9 team could beat the other in this game and consider their season fact the 1-9 team usually has nothing to lose and does just that. You can listen to all the analysts talk all week (I have) and it means squat. Anyone that makes a pick is just throwing dice.

There is something almost magical about this game each year, it defies logic and makes people crazy. It's a blast and I will hold my breath until the last second ticks away on the clock.

Go Blue!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Music Quotes I

Some of my favorite music quotes:

"I'm not alone cause the TV's on yeah. I'm not crazy cause I take the right pills everyday." "Bleed American", Jimmy Eat World.

"The more that things change, the more they stay the same." "Circumstances", Rush

"This time is gonna be the last time. The last time again." "The Last Time Again", Lit

"The very worst part of me" "Lying From You", Linkin Park

"Baking potatoes, baking in the sun!" "Rock Lobster", The B-52's

"There goes my hero, watch him as he goes. There goes my hero, he's ordinary"
"My Hero", Foo Fighters

"All puffed up with vanity. We see what we want to see. To the powerful and the wise. The mirror always lies" "War Paint", Rush

"To go back to where I was would just be wrong...I'm pressing on." "Pressing On", Relient K

"The ones we wish could hear us have heard it all before." "Peacable Kingdom", Rush

"Life is a day that doesn't last for long..." "Gone", Switchfoot

"Many miles away, something crawls from the slime...from the bottom of the dark scottish lake..." "Synchronicity II", The Police

"Atomic lazers falling from the sky...where's my umbrella?!?!" "Channel Z", The B-52's

"They cut you in half with a gun, and they give you a band-aid..." "Killer in the Home", Adam and the Ants

Sunday, November 05, 2006


If our life on earth is a journey of thousands of steps toward the final goal of spending eternity with God, I just hopped, skipped and jumped...

Thanks Shaun and Charlie...
"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18